Ninety years strong

Lynda Clifford, Spencer LaBell, Jeff LaBell, Carolyn Brown, Laura Clifford, Richard C. Brown, Anna Graham, and Suzanne Graham. Photo by Ralph Stewart
It was a family party on New Year's Eve to celebrate Richard C. Brown's 90th birthday. (Clockwise, from top left) Lynda Clifford, Spencer LaBell, Jeff LaBell, Carolyn Brown, Laura Clifford, Richard C. Brown, Anna Graham, and Suzanne Graham. Photo by Ralph Stewart

Posted January 12, 2006

The best birthdays are those spent with family. Richard C. Brown of Oak Bluffs celebrated his 90th birthday on Dec. 31, 2005 surrounded by three generations of his family.

According to Carolyn Brown, his wife of 41 years, Mr. Brown is still very busy. You can find him at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center teaching woodcarving twice a week, a hobby he considers very relaxing. He has built and remodeled many homes on the Island and also built a 12-foot sailboat. Mr. Brown is a man who doesn't mind getting his hands wet. He has spent more than a dozen years washing dishes for the United Methodist Church community suppers at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. His head for figures is put to good use as the Oak Bluffs library board treasurer.

But many people on the Island know both Mr. and Mrs. Brown as the people who built, owned, and operated the original Dairy Queen in Edgartown for 20 years. The store was located across the street from the present day Dairy Queen, owned by Tom deBettencourt, a customer of the Browns when he was a child.

Mr. Brown, a little league umpire, started the tradition of treating the teams to free drinks at the Dairy Queen after the games. The Dairy Queen is still a gathering place for sports teams today. His work with Island children included being a Scoutmaster for Troop 98 in Edgartown and also serving as the district chairman for scouting on Martha's Vineyard.

It's a good thing Mr. Brown was born around a holiday or he might not have the time off to celebrate. He is still working for Island Elderly Housing in the maintenance department where his carpentry skills are put to good use.

Happy birthday, Mr. Brown, and keep on inspiring us with your creativity and zest for life.